Food delivery has taken an interesting new turn. Residents of Greenwich, UK now have access to the country’s first self-driving grocery delivery service thanks to the electric-powered CargoPod. Developed by autonomous systems startup Oxbotica, the trial service is collaborating with online supermarket Ocado to deliver fresh groceries to customers at just a click of a button.
The trial service is part of the GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) program and will operate in the Woolwich area of Greenwich. Once customers place an order at Ocado, the CargoPod collects it and sets out on a number of set trajectories around the neighborhood. Each order has its own GPS coordinates, and once the van has reached its programmed destination, customers can collect their order from one of the eight compartments. The van can hold up to 128kg (282 pounds) of groceries at a time.
The electric CargoPod is a street-legal vehicle equipped with multiple sensors and cameras placed around the vehicle’s body to navigate safely through the streets. The van is able to self drive thanks to an InterlCore i7 computer, which integrates all of the sensor data, including Oxbotica’s own Selenium autonomous driving software. For safety reasons, it does, however, come with a steering wheel, pedals, and a big red emergency stop button that allow a safety driver – who is on board during the trial period – to take control in emergencies.
Via Ars Technica UK
Photography by Sebastian Anthony, Nick Summers and Oxbotica